Monthly Archives: May 2013

Anthony Bradshaw: L & G Awardee

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Chris Sibley: L & G Awardee

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Maxi Tone: L&G Awardee

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Video: Five Season Restaurant: A Proud Sponsor of the L&G Affair

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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FIL-AM VETS HITS INVITE FOR OSAKA MAYOR

JFAV UPDATES

May 27, 2013

FIL-AM VETS HITS INVITE FOR  OSAKA MAYOR

LOS ANGELES—With wartime atrocities still vivid in his mind, World War II veteran Franco Arcebal finds himself fighting another battle. He wants the mayor of San Francisco to withdraw his invitation to Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto to visit the city.

Hashimoto recently enraged Asian-American communities here for justifying Japan’s wartime practice of forcing hundreds of thousands of Asian women—including Filipinos—into prostitution for its military.

In a letter to San Francisco Mayor Edwin Lee, Arcebal, 89, lambasted Hashimoto’s “unrepentant position… justifying [the] blatant and forcible use of innocent and defenseless women in occupied territory.”

He said the Osaka mayor did not deserve the honor of an official visit to the United States.

“I am personally privy to the abduction of many beautiful young girls from our high school by military officers in my hometown in the Philippines,” said Arcebal, who lives in Los Angeles. “I could not stomach this forcible servitude of those innocent girls… [and] now the justification of an unrepentant leader in the person of Mayor Hashimoto.”

Became a guerrilla

He said the abduction of young women in his hometown was one of the reasons he became a guerrilla.

Arcebal is one of many Filipino World War II veterans protesting the visit to San Francisco of Hashimoto on June 11, the eve of Philippine Independence Day.

Members of the Los Angeles-based Justice for Filipino American Veterans (JFAV) also wrote Mayor Lee, denouncing what they described as Hashimoto’s historical revisionism and his “rationale that this forcible servitude… is justified in time of war.”

Historians say that up to 200,000 women were forced to provide sex for Japanese soldiers in military brothels.

“[Hashimoto’s visit] would be an affront and insult to the dignity of those who served during World War II and all they stand for,” said the letter signed by Arturo Garcia, JFAV national coordinator.

Commissioner Rudy Asercion of the San Francisco-based American Legion Veterans War Memorial Commission has launched a social media campaign opposing the visit, calling on the public to urge Mayor Lee to withdraw his invitation to Hashimoto.

Hashimoto, who is also coleader of a conservative nationalist party, has said that the use of so-called comfort women in brothels during World War II was necessary to maintain military discipline and give soldiers relief.

 US troops, too

 He also angered the United States by suggesting that American troops based in southern Japan should patronize legal adult entertainment establishments as a way to reduce sex crimes there.

His comments came amid concerns over what some had described as a rightward drift in Japanese politics under Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Before taking office, Abe advocated revising a 1993 statement by then Chief Cabinet Secretary Yohei Kono expressing remorse for the suffering inflicted on sexual slaves by Japanese troops.

The Philippine government has reiterated the importance of adhering to the language and tone of the Kono Statement of 1993 and of former Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi’s 2002 letter to Filipino comfort women.

In his letter, Koizumi extended his “most sincere apologies and remorse” to the victims and said “we must not evade the weight of the past, nor should we evade our responsibilities for the future.”

Read more: http://globalnation.inquirer.net/75741/fil-am-vet-hits-invite-to-osaka-mayor#ixzz2UWhQq9CG
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Memorial Day Memories

JFAV Updates

May 26, 2013

 Memorial Day Memories

 By Al P. Garcia

 We now celebrate Memorial Day as a day to  pay homage to our departed veterans.   In the United States,  this is the counterpart of  All Saints Day in the Philippines we normally mark  every November 1.   For our  Filipino veterans heroes we set aside August 30 every year as National heroes Day.

But here in the United States, what we now know as Memorial Day began as “Decoration Day” in the immediate aftermath of the U.S. Civil War. It was a tradition initiated by former slaves to celebrate emancipation and commemorate those who died for that cause.

Memorial Day, a tradition  for former slaves? Well, Memorial Day then for Filipino World War II Veterans and survivors  takes an extra mile for our  remaining 41,0000  Filipino war veterans are still unrecognized for more than 67 years now and counting. They are still not considered American veterans by the US Government specifically by the US Congress that denied them their rights by the Rescission Act of `1946..

For me, as a veterans advocate who have been working with them for more than 15 years, this memorial day weekend  is a time of reflection for many of them are gone. They have passed into the other world- veterans leader, ordinary members and advocates for equity and justice- many of them that is for me the most active, as they say in another parlance-“ the cream of the crop.’

Mang Felino Punzalan passed away last May 7. I regret and felt the sadness when Ago Pedalizo told me he died ans I was feel terrible when I was not able to attend his service. But our comrades were there to do the honors. So today I remember the veteran singer of the ballad “Oh Danny Boy.”

Today, I  also  remember Mang Peping, the tireless lawyer in him always ready to point out the pitfalls in every law that grant them some benefits but no the true thing, “recognition and justice. He was laughing when he said: : imagine the first thing they gave us is the burial benefits. They all want us to die and maybe they will recognize us when we are all dead so they cannot give us the benefits.”

How can I forget Mang Mariano Pastorin, one of the founders of AWARE (  now S4PACE), who refused his coffin to be draped in American flag as a protest. He fought for America in the Philippines, Korea and Vietnam only not to be recognized.  I miss his tirades and barbs against America whom he loved deeply inside.

I  miss Mang Alex Mendoza, the small and funny veteran with his hand-held video. He loved to record our meetings and discussions and was always there in every mass action. When he died, we missed his video record he always want to show to us.

I also miss, the strong and authoritative stories of Major Cres Abad, How he survived the Bataan Death March and his verbal tussles with equally strong willed Mang Franco on UFAV meetings in Angelus Plaza. An Ilokano,, he loved to tell his stories as an artillery man in Bataan and after.

Who will forget the equally authoritative Col. Mendoza of Long Beach. He is unstoppable and will not yield his mike when speaking. “Why will you give give me five minutes to talk when I came all the way from Long Beach”  that his usual remarks during meetings.

I also miss Sid Bathan of the SGSI who walked with his cane. His replacement, Captain Manny Aquino is equally fiery as a speaker. Spic and span in his uniform he loved to dance and will always make his fellow guerillas an scouts dance in FACLA.

I stll smile when I remember the ever affable Eugene Mondok of UFAV who is ever rpesent in every meeting and rally we had for JFAV and every Veterans Day.

Mang Leonides Alcantara, Ben Clamor Victor Velasco ,Isidro Mutia and many others have gone home to the Philippines because they are on their advance age.   Many of them, when they received their lump sum decided to go back to the Philippines.

Mang Franco Arcebal , Mang Nick Gadia, Mang Greg, Mr. Rufiniano De Castro , Ben Paloria  are sick and cannot attend meetings anymore.

Mang Felino Punzalan,  Mang Max Clamor, Commodore Ramon Alcaraz,  Enrique Dela Cruz Sr., Jose Socorro,  Arcadio Basat, Peping Baclig,  Candido Matias, Isidro Bathan,  Eugene Mondok, Cres Abad, Samson Caballero, Mang George Villegas, Manuel  Realubit, Marcelino Lacson, Cesar Abrigo, Nemesio Arciaga,  Conrado Danting and many others  named others who belong to the noble 250,000  have all passed away . I sadly  marked them on  my records as “ deceased.”

I regret that I was not able to go to their wake, speak on their memorial service, visit them when they were dying in the hospital  nor be there when they were buried. I have only one body and I cannot attend to all of them. But  I kept  vigil and tried to be there for them and their families. I have no heart to attend the burial of Mang Peping,  for I was so emotionally attached to him as the founder of JFAV. I passed that day and went home just to remember him.

My list  or record of active veterans leaders are getting  smaller and thinner  as the years go by. Fifteen years have taken their toll.  The only memories they left behind are the pictures, videos and  documentaries that  showed them alive and active.

This memorial day  I remember them and offered  prayers for the repose of their souls, that those who are still living hang on and receive the fruits of their labor and the recognition they deserve.

With their survivors, we will keep on to fight the struggle until the recognition and  justice they deserve we achieve. On this Memorial Day, as we remember, this will be my solemn vow to them.

We salute you for your service!

Pugay Sandata, Na!

Lest we forget!

****

 

 

 

IT’S ALL SET AND GO FOR THE L @ G AFFAIR EVENT MAY 31, 2013.

Press Release

Filipino American Community of Los Angeles (FACLA)

May 25, 2013

IT’S ALL SET AND GO  FOR THE  L @ G AFFAIR EVENT MAY 31, 2013.

Los Angeles- It’s a go for the L and G Achievers Awards Night on May 31.

The Filipino American Community of Los Angeles (FACLA) is happy to announced that it’s fund raising project- the @ G Affair  of May 31, 2013 will  be held at the SPORTSMEN’S LODGE HOTEL at 12825 Ventura Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 91604. Tickets are sold at $ 100 dollars per person.

L and G Awardees Announced

Ms. Linda Nery, FACLA treasurer and events coordinator announced that the  twenty one  people  are the following   L and G Achievers for 2013:

Lemuel Balagot – Restaurant/Entrepreneu; Philip James Gilberti – Pianist/Composer ; Antonio Maximo – Make-up artist: Anthony Bradshaw – Make-up and hair artist: Christopher Sibley – Sibley entertainment, Promotion Grp./Entrepreneur:David Tupaz – Fashion designer in Las Vegas, Nevada;  Joey Galon – Fashion Designer in Las Vegas, Nevada/Event planner; Bernardo Bernardo – Actor comedian/Singer entertainer; Jo Awayan – Singer/Performer  and Richie Selva – President of LGBT org./Travel industry.

Other awardees in their respective field of expertise are: Dion Santos – Regional Marketing Director of an Ambulance Co./Fashionista/Entertainer/Singer: Giorgio Cerenado – Announcer/ Interior Designer/Entrepreneur; Sonny Madera – Psychiatrist/Administrator of a hospital ; Chevy Evangelista of Justice for Filipino American Veterans (JFAV) – Activist for Human Rights from New York : Edward C. Rafael Jr. – Entertainer/Singer Comedian: Lao Gumban – Manager NoyPitz: and Alan Del Rosario – Fashion Designer.

Special  Awards  will  also be given to the following: Robbie Fabian, Lety Reyes and Donita Rose .
Historic Undertaking For Equal Rights

FACLA President Austin Baul declared that ; “ In this historic moment when the US President Barack Obama mentioned the need for equality during his inauguration speech and in his four point plan for immigration reform, FACLA is proud to initiate this event for our community.”

FACLA’s President Baul also praised the awardees as trailblazers in their own field. He also said: “This multi-racial event for the improvement of the 48- year old FACLA Building at 1740 W. Temple St. Los Angeles has the support of the lesbian and gay community of Los Angeles.

This is the first time that The Filipino American  community group will honor gay and lesbian achievers in their different fields of endeavors breaking the stigma of the  known deeply conservative Filipino –American community in the United States.”  Nery added.

Nery also enjoined and called on all gay and lesbian achievers in the multi-national cross section of Los Angeles to join and support this worthwhile endeavor.

For more information please contact FACLA or call  Linda Nery at (213)484-1527. You can also  email us at newfacla@yahoo.com or visit our website at www.newfaccla.org

*****

FACLA GENERAL ASSEMBLY OVERWHELMINGLY PASSED AMENDMENTS TO 2011 BY-LAWS

Press Release

Filipino American Community of Los Angeles (FACLA)

May 24,2013

FACLA GENERAL ASSEMBLY OVERWHELMINGLY PASSED AMENDMENTS  TO 2011 BY-LAWS

Los Angeles – The Filipino American Community of Los Angeles (FACLA) General Assembly meeting  last Sunday April 28 overwhelmingly passed the proposed amendments to its by-laws with a vote of 40-5.

The proposed amendments to the 2013 FACLA By-Laws was presented to the general Assembly of active members by the Committee on the Revion of the By-Laws headed by Director Ben Basilio. Director Basilio . Committee head  was assisted by ranking FACLA Directors Arturo Garcia and Aleli Abrigo-Neal committee members.

Director Basilio noted that the FACLA By-Laws must be attuned to the challenges of the times. On his part, Director Garcia said that the US Constitution was amended 27 times in the span of more than 20o years , so the FACLA by-laws must also undergo changes such amendments. On her part, Director Neal said that any change will always yield good results.

Smooth Process

The proposed amendments was presented and was approved first by the 2/3 of the 15 member FACLA Board of Directors and was presented, discussed and was approved by the FACLA General Assembly last Sunday with FACLA President Austin Baul and Director Ben Basilio presiding.

Foremost among the amendments was the change in the term of office by the board of directors from three years to four year term starting when the General Assembly approved the amendments. Others are about the additional sections on different articles in the by laws like the COMELEC. Qualifications of directors and members and the functions of officers.

The General Assembly

This was the first General Assembly for this year, 2103. The General Assembly last was year 2012 was adjourned because of lack of quorom.  More than 57 FACLA members attended the General Assembly surpassing the needed number to have a quorom.

FACLA President Austin Baul Jr.  expressed satisfaction about the turn-out and the results of the assembly.He thanks the assembly for the trust and confidence it gave to the new FACLA leadership.

” This means a lot because from now on FACLA will have a smooth transition and function to make it more efficient in serving the community.” Baul ended.

 For more information please call (213) 484-1527 or email at newfacla@yahoo.com

 

 

FACLA’s Programs and Projects

NEWS

FACLA’s Programs and Projects

 

FACLA offers a variety and different types of community services to the Filipino American community. These are the following: Community Services, Senior Services, Cultural Empowerment and Youth Services.

Under these programs are different projects that FACLA offers to the community.

1. Community Services

Newly Arrived Immigrants Assistance Program (NAIA)

 The NAIA project helps newly arrived Filipino immigrants to accustom and acclimatized themselves to the new landscape. The project also help immigrant s offering them citizenship classes and other services like the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).

Regular Community Cleanup

 FACLA helps to keep the community clean and presentable and believes that “ a clean mind breeds clean surroundings.” Regular clean-up are held around FACLA and different neighborhoods in collaboration with the city  council District 13 and the neighborhood council and youth groups like the UCLA Samahang Pilipino.

Advocacy Issues

FACLA is also a venue for community advocacy for empowerment. discussions and forums for its thousands of its members where the  burning issues of the day for the city of Los Angeles and national issues such as immigration,  social security and senior services are discussed, debated and acted upon.

2. Senior  Services

 FACLA helps the seniors in the neighborhood by a system of referrals and seminars regularly being  held and  conducted  by different city and private agencies and service providers.

FACLA for a graduated payment  also provides a venue for senior organizations like S4PACE. Golden Agers, Knights of Rizals  (KOR), MOTHER  and different community organizations based in Historic Filipinotown.

There is social dancing every Wednesday and Fridaya and FACLA that adults and seniors can enjoy , FACLA also offers a venues for celebrations and commemorations lke baptisms, birthdays, memorials and other activities

3 . Cultural Empowerment

FACLA was envisioned as the Filipino Cultural Center that represents the varies cultures of the Philippines. The Philippines is composed of different ethnicities and regional groupings and has more than 125 dialects or languages.

FACLA has been the center of commemorations of Philippine events  most specifically every June 12 Philippine Independence Day  and December 30 Rizal Day .

This coming 115th  independence day, FACLA is collaborating with the Philippine Consulate general for the Grand  Parade that will be held in Historic Filipinotown Los Angeles on June 8, 2013

 Youth Services

As the Philippine national hero  Dr, Rizal said that “the Filipino youth is the hope of the motherland”,  FACLA is collaborating with the youth in providing them with a venue for their activite4s and in their activities and program.

Particularly with the  youth driven Justice for Filipino American Veterans (JFAV) and the youth based Filipino American Associations with the different colleges and universities in California, FACLA is a center of activities for them.

FACLA has always been a youth partner in community empowerment and advocacy for Filipino American youths.

***

GOODBYE VETERAN FELINO PUNZALAN, WE SALUTE YOU

JFAV UPDATE

May 22, 2013

GOODBYE VETERAN FELINO PUNZALAN, WE SALUTE YOU

By Marivir R. Montebon

New York — War veteran Felino Punzalan may have to wait till eternity when the US government will finally give the full benefits to Filipino World War II veterans for having served the war that won America as the single most powerful country in the world.

Punzalan, a frontliner in claiming those equity benefits, passed away peacefully in his sleep early May 2013 in San Francisco, California.  He has yet to see justice meted for himself and his colleagues who are in their twilight years.

He served the World War II but because his name was not in the Missouri List, he was unable to get any benefit from the US government as one of its freedom fighters. He died fighting for his right, at age 95.

The MHC had accorded Punzalan a Lifetime Achievement Award during its 2011 People’s Ball celebration in Washington, DC for his dedication to claim full entitlement and benefits to WW II Filipino veterans.

The aging Philippine soldiers have ceaselessly campaigned for Pres. Obama to extend full benefits to Filipino veterans who until now have been denied the corresponding benefits as war heroes.  All the other WWII veterans of the 65 allied countries were given full benefits by the US government, except the Filipino soldiers.

Punzalan, and the other Filipino soldiers, call this institutionalized racial discrimination.

Two groups, under the Justice for Filipino-American Veterans (JFAV), have lobbied for their equal protection, one belongs to the Filipino veterans and the other group is composed of widows and children of the veterans who passed away.

Recently, the veterans found an ally in the office of Democratic US Senate Majority Leader Senator Harry Reid-NV who promised to work closely with equity champion Senator Brian Schatz-HI and other leaders to bring about the passage of S690, “The Filipino Veterans Fairness Act of 2013,” on the floor.

This came as a result of the week long lobbying by volunteers of the JFAV at the Capitol. The office of Senator Durbin recommended either to right away co-sponsor or vote for the bill when it’s on the floor. On June 5, the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, headed by Democratic Chairman Senator Bernie Sanders decided to conduct hearing for the Fairness Act and other bills related to veterans’ bills after it was cancelled last May 15.

Schatz was given the right to stand up and state support for the bill he introduced. Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski- AK together with Senators Mazie Hirono- HI and Mark Begich- AK co-sponsored his bill.

In the House, Rep. Jackie Speier- CA introduced a companion bill with 33 co-sponsors including Republican Joe Heck- NV. Schatz called on his colleagues in Congress to join him in moving swiftly to pass this legislation, “so that we can finally fulfill the promise of equal rights for thousands of veterans across the country, and fully honor the men and women who served our country so bravely in a time of war.”

JVAC coordinator Arturo Garcia welcomed the bill of Sen. Schatz. “The Fairness Act by Senator Schatz provides

unconditional recognition and full compensation while the Promise Act by Senator Heller simply affirms the lump sum payment for pain and suffering, and minimizes benefits,” said Garcia.

He added, “Fairness Act provides lifetime monthly pensions for both veterans and widows. The other bill does not even talk of equity at all nor recognize the rights of widows to receive benefits.They are not complementary as the other bill negates the core provisions of the Fairness Act that deals with full recognition, full compensation, racial equality, and inclusion of survivors as beneficiaries.”

Aside from lobbying at the Capitol, the veterans are asking a certiorari on their case before the Supreme Court, after the Court of Appeals in California affirmed the decision of the district court to dismiss their benefit claims in February this year.

A certiorari is a writ that the Supreme Court issues to review a lower court’s judgment for legal error where no appeal is available as a matter of right.

As their legal counsel, Arnedo Valera of the MHC posed two questions before the Supreme Court on a writ of certiorari filed early May: (1) Whether or not the US Court of Appeals committed reversible error in holding that a due process challenge before the District Court on the VA’s exclusive reliance on records from the NPRC to verify service history of the petitioning Filipino War Veterans is precluded by 38 USC §511(a), the jurisdiction-stripping of the Veterans’ Judicial Review Act (VJRA). And (2) Whether or not the US Court of Appeals committed reversible error in holding that the constitutional rights of the petitioners to equal protection are not violated by Sec. 1002 of ARRA 2009 notwithstanding that it provides to US citizen Filipino War Veterans whose service has been recognized as active military service, and their surviving spouses, less benefits than what other US war veterans receive.

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals released a decision February 7, 2013, affirming the district court’s earlier decision to dismiss the case of Filipino WW II veterans and widows for failure to state a claim and for lack of subject matter jurisdiction claims.

Valera, in his argument before the Court of Appeals in California on behalf of the veterans, said that because the

Filipino veterans were duly recognized as war heroes through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, they have to be given US citizenship and as such must receive all the same benefits as their American counterparts. Valera further argued that the process of identifying the veterans was problematic, with only the Missouri List as sole reference.  There were thousands more of veterans who participated in the war who were not included in the list.

“I gave my life as a USAFFE guerrilla defending the US during the war, and now I got this letter from the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) saying that my name was not in the ‘Missouri List’, therefore I am not an American veteran and I cannot receive any payment, “ said war veteran Regalado Baldonado. “This is ridiculous.”

Under the Rescission Act of 1946, the Filipinos were singled out from the 66 Allied nationalities not to receive full benefits. After long arduous years of campaigning, 63 years later, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act was passed in 2009.

From this law was created the Filipino Veterans Equity Compensation (FVEC) Fund where Filipino veterans were given a lump sum of $15,000 (those in the Philippines were to be given $9000 quit claim benefits) as payment for pain and suffering in defense of the US, instead of the monthly pensions, educational benefits, and other equity benefits accorded to a US veteran.

To the veterans, the quit claims was a far cry from the full benefits they deserved, as their local counterparts were recognized and given benefits as full US citizens as entitlement and compensation to the war.

Adding insult to injury, the FVEC has excluded about 24,000 Filipino veterans from receiving the lump sum benefit, out of the estimated 41,000 veterans in the US and the Philippines. Most of the widows were denied since the law did not cover those who became widows before the enactment of the law.

The veterans questioned the Department of Veteran’s Affairs exclusive reliance on the “Missouri List” as official record of US military service. The list was burned down in 1973 and as much as 80% of the list from 1912 to 1960 was lost.

The MHC, through Valera, thus joined the call for Pres. Obama to take action on the case of the Filipino war veterans.

“They are the heroes of democracy. It is but proper that we give what is due them,” he said.

The remaining Filipino soldiers, like the late Punzalan, have steadfastly continued to lobby for their demands in court and among sympathetic legislators with what little time they have. #

 

Lobbying at Sen. Schatz’s office

 

War veteran Felino Punzalan: Waiting till eternity

 

Valera and the vets in Congress. Punzalan at the left-most seat.